Britain will give £5m (€6.34m) worth of equipment to Syrian rebels trying to topple President Bashar Assad, the Foreign Office (FCO) said today.
The aid will include radios and medical supplies but not weapons.
Foreign Secretary William Hague is expected to reveal more details later.
An FCO spokesman said: “As the Foreign Secretary says, we need to work with the Syrian opposition to ensure they prepare for the inevitable day of Assad’s fall, including representatives of the Free Syria Army.
“We are therefore meeting political elements of the Free Syria Army.
“This is not taking sides in a civil war.
The spokesman added: “The risk of total disorder and a power vacuum in Syria is so great that we must build relationships now with those who may govern Syria in the future.
“If we do not work with those Syrians who want to see a democratic and open Syria, we leave a void to be exploited by al Qaeda and others with extremist agendas who wish to hijack the conflict.”